The founder of the Syrian Community in Arab Gulf countries (SCAGC) has confirmed a decision by the Syrian regime to close Syrian Embassies in Riyadh, Kuwait and Washington.
Jameel Daghestani said the reason behind such an act is to strip Syrian expatriates from countries mainly opposed to the Assad regime, of their right to vote in the forthcoming presidential election in June 2014.
Daghestani told Iqtissad and Zaman al-Wasl, that the Syrian embassies usually cooperate with security and intellignce services to observe Syrian citizens.
Another unacceptable practice of embassies, he said, was using the recent circumstances as an opportunity to charge large sums for usual consular services. It is estimated that fees for renewal of Syrian passports is the highest globally.
According to Daghestani, 2004 statistics from the Foreign Affairs Ministry estimated that 18 Million Syrians live abroad, among them 800,000 in Saudi Arabia and 235,000 in Kuwait. There are around 1.5 million Syrians in America.
“After the economic crises and Syrian revolution, the numbers of refugees and who left the country increased by more than double. Therefore, more than four million Syrians will be prevented from voting”, Daghestani said.
The Foreign Ministry decided on 11 March, 2014 to close its embassies in Riyadh, Kuwait and Washington. Embassies in both Kuwait and Washington have been closed, while in Saudi Arabia, Syrian people seeking any consular services were given notice to visit the embassy to collect their documents within ten days from the date of the decision.
Translated and edited by The Syrian Observer